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Cleaning Services – who can you trust?

15
May

Seal of ApprovalThere is an old saying that goes "Fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice - shame on me".

I recently had two very bad experiences with two different maid companies in Surrey. One went by the name of  Lidia's Cleaning Services and the other went by the name of Eva Metryka Cleaning Services.

Independents.

As a former entrepreneur, I like to support the small business person. I like the idea that someone has decided to go in to business for themself and make a go of it.

However, what I don’t like is feeling duped out of my money for a poor job done….twice...

Initially, I had asked the first cleaning service (Lidia's Cleaning Service) for dusting, cleaning floors and walls, and bathrooms.  What I got was bathrooms and kitchen and cat room (which I never requested).

The floors were poor, the walls weren’t done and I was charged $120.

They spent 3 hours doing it and there were 3 of them.

I complained but was told they couldn’t get to it all.

The second service came a week later with 4 women in tow (Eva's Cleaning Service).  I told them I needed the walls, baseboards, floors and windows.

What I got was a redo of my bathrooms (which had already been done the previous week by the first cleaners) and no walls or baseboards or windows. 

I advised I wasn’t happy and that I would like more time for them to do what I had asked.

They told me they didn’t have time despite there being four of them and doing the time of 2 hours of work.  I was charged $125.

Now I am out $245 and my house is no where near what it should be.  And I keep my house in very good condition already.  I just needed a bit of help after our two-month long flu/cold season.

I also paid in cash because they both don't want to pay taxes on what they get.  That in itself should have been a red flag to me.

It got me thinking that I cannot be the only one who has been duped out of their money by a cleaning service that doesn’t really do their job.

What about you?  Have you ever had an experience like this? 

Although I will NEVER use another cleaning service - here is what I have learned.

1. Always get it in writing - what they promise, they must deliver.

2. Walk through the home with them afterwards to review what they have done.

3. Never pay them upfront or with cash.  It can't be tracked and they can get away without doing their job.

4. Talk with others - ask for referrals.

I hope the fact that I am sharing this with readers will eliminate someone else from making the same mistakes I did.

 

 

 

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Happy Mother's Day

13
May

Help Wanted

As today is Mother's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to post an article that I wrote a few years ago, about how a local ad in a newspaper would read if someone was looking to hire someone for the position of "MOM"

Desperately Seeking One Mom: Required Immediately!

Responsibilities include:

Maid

This entails cleaning the floors and vacuuming (especially in the kitchen due to crumbs from children’s dinners and snacks that always make their way to the floors). You may need extra time in this area if pancakes, honey or juice is served - as all leave a sticky residue behind, where inevitably some unsuspecting guest will get stuck in it. Please note: You may need to clean the same area more than once during the day depending on number of times the children eat.

As well, laundry is to be done on a regimented basis to ensure that all family members have fresh clothes to wear each day. You may find yourself doing more laundry than initially intended, as the children tend to go through two to three outfits per day (see above re: eating habits) and may or may not include your husband, if it is a weekend.

Making the beds (this could sometimes be two to three times a day, depending on how many times the children jump on the bed and/or pull it apart).

Dusting is a must and cannot be overlooked. I stress this because it is a guarantee that the time you do decide not to dust, is the same day an in-law or friend will drop in to say hello and witness your bad cleaning skills......

Chauffeur

You must have a valid drivers’ license to take the children out each day. You will be doing a lot of driving to pre-school, grocery store, parks and playgrounds. You may also find that you are simply driving just to get them outside of the house (and you). You must have a large vehicle that will hold all coats, toys, wipees, snacks, stroller(s), diapers, first aid and blankets, along with many miscellaneous items that will inevitably find their way in to your vehicle, such as a cat toy. In addition to miscellaneous items, you may find the occasional cracker box or juice box in a side compartment or beneath a seat in your vehicle. The children find this quite amusing to hide them, and will keep their little joke to themselves - for you to discover on your own, months later.

Nurse

Your skills will be put to the test almost immediately after you have started. You will need to be extremely quick and cunning when it comes to the children and their accidents. Please do not assume that when you say “No” that they will listen the first time. (Refer to making the beds above). Preference will be given to applicants who possess a second set of eyes in their head.

Please keep the house stocked with the following items: Batman band aids, Benedril and cold/cough syrup. The children will take turns in using at least one of the above items each week. And as a nurse, you will need to be “on” sometimes for 24 hours or more, depending on the level of care required for each child should a flu or cold be especially bad. As you are the Mom, there will be no other Mom to relieve you of your duties during the sick season, so you must stay healthy at all times. Tylenol should also be kept on hand (for you) should the latter become impossible.

Chef

You will be required to prepare succulent, creative meals for the family during the day and night. You may find that some family members do not like the meal you have prepared for them, which will result in cooking more than one meal per sitting. If you are serving things such as spaghetti or things with sauces, please be prepared to clean the floors (or walls) afterwards (refer to Maid responsibilities).

Lover

In addition to the responsibilities above, you must also keep yourself in good shape by spending the hour (or sometimes half-hour) that you have to yourself, working out. You must enjoy late night rendezvous after your long day is over and the children are tucked away in bed (excluding flu/cold season). Unenthusiastic applicants need not apply.

Please note: This is not a part-time position but full-time. If you are also working elsewhere and want to apply for this position as well, please be aware that you will be fully expected to still perform all the above duties to perfection, in addition to your other outside work.

Other responsibilities you will encounter as a mom, will include (but are not limited to) the role of a mediator, financial wizard, psychic, child entertainer, artist, seamstress, friend and teacher. All of which, require a pleasant, patient and understanding disposition at all times.

If you are chosen as the qualified Mom, you will not receive a paid salary, and will not be able to be use the position on a resume for future work. Instead, reimbursement will be spread out over several years in the form of many hugs, kisses and words of “I love you” that will be worth their weight in gold.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms who take on all these tasks each and every day and make it seem effortless!

 

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Being Fat and Pregnant goes hand in hand

02
May

Jessica SimpsonOk - let's lay off the fat jokes with Jessica Simpson. 

Yes, she got big, and yes, she probably indulged in all the amazing food that women tend to restrict themselves from doing every day - but here's the thing......she was PREGNANT!

Since news hit that she had her baby yesterday - Twitter has been, well, all-a-twitter about how fat she got - and how big the baby weighed.

The fact is, as a former pregnant woman, it is tough enough to have to go through nine-months of enduring kicks, heart burn, sleepless nights and constant discomfort - for goodness sakes, let's at least indulge in some comfort food!

Anorexic pregnancies seem to be everywhere in Hollywood - and not only is it not realistic - it's not healthy.  

PregnanccyWhen I was pregnant with my son, I gained 80 pounds.  That's right...80.  Everyone at my work made fun of my weight, figured I would go from being a happy, big pregnant woman, to just a plain, big woman after I gave birth.

They were wrong.

At my heaviest, I was 234 before I gave birth. (To the left is a pic of me after I had my son in the hospital).

However, I had a very close friend who constantly told me how beautiful I was, how healthy I looked, and saw beyond the fact that I was, well, big. Without that friendship, I don't think I would have been so strong - or been able to see past other's critical words at work.

I knew I was big. I was hungry ALL the time. But the fact was, I was a target for redicule by other women - just as Jessica Simpson has been.

"Do you REALLY need another hot chocolate from the cafe, Kelley?" one young woman said to me one afternoon as I passed her, heading to the cafe. *Insert loud snickering from other women, here*

Instead of getting in to a debate with the woman, I chose to ignore her rudeness. However, I did cry later when I was alone.

Why are women so critical of other women?

Now times that critical eye by a thousand, and that is exactly what Jessica Simpson has had to endure throughout her pregnancy.

What about her health? What about how she is feeling? What about the fact that she looked like a happy mom-to-be?

I realize that usually women tend to gain 25-35 pounds on average with their pregnancies (which I did with my second), however, I was just as healthy as other women with the 80 pounds I had on me.

Bora BoraToday, I weigh 130 pounds (pictured to the left earlier this year in Bora Bora) - a long way from the 234 I once was at.

But the point is, its my body. I chose to gain the weight and I was happy.

So let's lay off Jessica Simpson and her weight gain and give the new mom a very much needed break.  She's happy and healthy (as is her baby) and that's really all that matters.

 

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Change

02
Aug

ChangeLife is certainly funny the way it works. For years, you can be going along, with no changes, no bumps - and smooth sailing.

Routine is your middle name, and you know what to expect, and when to expect it.

Then WHAM.

Life gives you a wake up call and suddenly everything changes in a moment. 

Or at least, that's sometimes how it feels. ;)

For me, I've experienced a lot of changes over the past few months....

First, I sold my company, Enterprising Moms Network to Mom Ventures Media Inc. This was monumentous in my life, as it was a company that I started from nothing and grew it in to fourteen chapters across Canada for mom entrepreneurs. I was the first one to start a networking group specifically for mom entrepreneurs in Canada.

But there came a time when I knew that I couldn't take it to the next level on my own. And that I had given enough of myself and needed to pass it along to others to carry the vision forward. 

So I am thrilled that Mom Ventures Media (owners Christie Shultz and Carla Young) have taken the reigns.

Secondly, I am no longer a parenting columnist. After 5 1/2 years of writing for the newspaper on everything from pregnancy to breast feeding to schools to the tooth fairy, I knew that it was time to evolve from being a parenting writer. 

I took on a column as a travel/entertainment writer instead for the newspaper, and have called it "40 Under 40".  Which are 40 goals I plan to achieve over the next year.  I'm blogging about it here:  http://www.kelleyscarsbrook.blogspot.com/

That's a lot of change. And certainly a change in identity and how I see myself. I admit - it's a bit scary and uncomfortable.

Although I am no longer president of Enterprising Moms Network, and no longer a parenting columnist, I am still me.

And I am still a stay at home mom - and more than anything - that is the most important part of who I am.

I have a book that will be coming out this fall about being a stay at home mom - was there ever any doubt in that?! :)

So with that said, this website will remain, along with all my musings of being a stay at home mom. Please feel free to email me at info@thestayathomemother.com with any feedback or suggestions for the website. I welcome all contributors - both novice bloggers and professional writers to contribute your stories and thoughts on being a stay at home parent.

And here's to the next Chapter of my life............bring it.

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Sky Diving in Abbotsford

07
Jul
So I finally took the "leap" - so to speak - at Sky Dive Vancouver yesterday afternoon. It was a perfect, sunny day for jumping.

I have to tell you that the people at Sky Dive Vancouver were absolutely amazing.  If I had any reservations beforehand, once I got there, it was complete excitement.

There for two other jumpers who took the plunge with me and they were both excited as well. People ask me what it felt like as I jumped from the plane and did a free fall at 125 miles per hour for almost a minute at 10,000 feet. 

All I can say it that it was exhilarating.

The sound of the wind was strong in my ears, and my stomach did do a bit of a flip-flop, but once I was out of the plane, it was pure adrenaline. I wasn't scared, I was pumped. :)

Once the chute kicked in, it was silence. And for the next eight minutes, I was able to appreciate where I was and all the beautiful sights around me.  It really felt like a dream. You know, the one we all have when we feel as though we are flying in our dreams. Magic.

And when I landed, I was a bit sad that it was over, but really happy that I did it.  It will be the first of my many adventures to come featured in the Now newspaper at the end of July. And if you want to know exactly what I saw and what it felt like, you can watch the video experience of my jump here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrInxWwWnvs

And visit my other new adventure blog here http://www.kelleyscarsbrook.blogspot.com/ for further adventures!

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